7 Reasons Your Shoes Can Make Your Feet Stink

by Lindsey Rose Black
PARIS, FRANCE - APRIL 11: Gabriella Berdugo wears a green shiny leather buttoned jacket, a green emb...
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Thanks to layers of giant socks and big boots, the stinky feet struggle can get especially real in the wintertime. But there are tons of other reasons your shoes can make your feet stink, besides the obvious and unavoidable causes of your dank sneakers — all of which are absolutely preventable during the colder months. Scroll on to make sure you’re not unintentionally making things smellier than they have to be.

The first time I really noticed just how much my shoes could impact my level of foot stinkiness was when I started training for my first half marathon. I was wearing those little five fingers shoes for shorter runs, and they absorbed sweat way, way too well. Instead of the sweat evaporating off or getting caught in socks, all that stank got trapped in my shoe fabric. You can imagine how much they reeked after a nine mile run in eighty-five degree weather...

Though I couldn’t exactly change my shoes’ material, learning the best care routine made an immense difference. I now wash them after every single run, and things are significantly less stinky. #Praise

If you’re struggling with some serious stinky feet action and haven’t yet figured out how to fight it, these reasons your shoes can make your feet stink might provide clues for what’s causing your issue. Better yet, you’ll learn how to help quell the stank!

1. Your Shoes Don't Have Enough Ventilation

Nike Juvenate, $95, Amazon

Certain materials like leather and suede trap sweat instead of letting it ventilate out. Ideally, look for shoes that feature mesh or cotton to help keep air flowing through your shoes.

2. You Wear Them Too Much

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WebMD warned that wearing the same pair of shoes every day can create a stinky environment. The site explained, "Feet become smelly if sweat soaks into the shoes and you wear them again before they are dry." Your shoes need a breather!

3. Your Feet Are Dirty

Max Chernishev / 500px/500Px Plus/Getty Images

Another WebMD tip, washing your feet and drying them thoroughly every day is crucial to avoiding any smell. A quick scrub down with your favorite body wash will do the trick.

4. Fungus

Athlete's Foot Cream, $9, Amazon

Athlete's foot fungus can make your feet smelly, which in turn makes your shoes stinky. Luckily, over-the-counter treatment creams are often effective.

5. You Don't Ever Wash Them

Arm & Hammer Baking Soda, $6, Amazon

Aim to wash your shoes after any vigorous activity in them to keep things fresh. For extended benefits, sprinkle the inside of each shoe with baking soda to deodorize every night.

6. You Wash Them Improperly

Israel Sebastian/Moment/Getty Images

Simply dipping your shoes in water is not cleaning them. Depending on the type of shoes you have, you should either clean them on the "gentle" washer setting, or scrub them down with detergent in a sink full of water. Make sure to let them dry all the way before wearing again or else you risk getting mold in your shoes.

7. You Wear Old Socks Or No Socks At All

Nike DRI-Fit Socks, $18, Kohls

If your socks aren't properly absorbing sweat or you skip socks altogether, the sweat can get trapped in the soles of your shoes and cause some serious reeking. Fortunately, there are socks out there specifically designed to absorb odor-causing sweat.

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